Crimson: Steam Pirates sets sail on the iPad September 1st

There’s a real time strategy game in the works for the iPad that combines that equally awesome worlds of steampunk and pirates. I know, I know – your head is ready to burst with excitement already – but I promise, there’s even more reason to get excited than the combination of clockwork and the high seas.

Crimson: Steam Pirates isn’t being tackled by some ragtag group of unknown developers, but by Harebrained Schemes, a new studio led by Jordan Weisman – the man responsible for the criminally under-appreciated Xbox games Shadowrun and Crimson Skies. And it’s being published by Bungie’s Aerospace program. Yes – that Bungie. The folks who brought us more Halo that we could have ever dreamed of.

Clearly, this is a game with some pedigree attached to it.

 Steam Pirates

 Steam Pirates

Crimson: Steam Pirates tells the tale of Thomas Blood, a steampunk pirate on the high seas. The game will feature turn-based combat, allowing players to choose multiple actions at once and then watch as the battles unfold. You can position your ships for attack, or if you’re really daring, get in close and attempt to board enemy vessels.

At launch, the game will feature 16 single player missions that will make up the first two chapters of Thomas Blood’s tale. The third and final chapter, comprised of another 8 missions, will be released at a later date.

For players looking to test their mettle against another real world pirate, Crimson: Steam Pirates will feature two unique pass’n’play multiplayer scenarios. Sadly though, it looks like any hopes we have for online multiplayer will have to walk the plank. At least the game will support leaderboards – using for stat tracking no less!

As is usually the case for games developed under Weisman’s careful eye, Crimson: Steam Pirates takes place in a universe that’s far larger than what one might experience in the game. The developer’s website, for example, is already filled with supplemental material that can let players immerse themselves in the world of the game. There’s a timeline, geographical information, technology primer, and even a Who’s Who of notable persons.

 Steam Pirates

 Steam Pirates

The world of Crimson: Steam Pirates is clearly an alternate history tale, being rooted largely in characters and locations from our world in the late 19th century. There’s no official confirmation at this point that this is the same fictional world as depicted in Weisman’s earlier aerial combat game Crimson Skies (which took place in an alternate 1930’s), but considering the naming conventions and the similar alternate history settings, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they were.

Have we set the bar high enough for you yet? Good, because it’s about to get higher. The game will coming out on September 1st – and it’s free.

Don’t have an iPad yet? Expect this one to hit the PC, iPhone, and Android tablets in the coming months.